London property management services fees: explained

Discussing the details of a London property management service contract

For even for the most experienced homeowners, investing in the services of an expert service – or short let management service – is a guaranteed way to protect your downside, maximise returns and assure a memorable, 5-star experience for your occupants.

Keep reading to understand more about property management pricing plans, what’s included in the service, and also have some of the most frequently answered questions regarding fees explained in detail.

What’s included in a service?

An Airbnb property management service like Hostmaker can assist you in fully unlocking the potential of your property in a variety of ways. Typically most companies in the market would offer:

  1. Listing your home in one or more channels, often the likes of Airbnb, HomeAway, Booking.com, Expedia… etc.,
  2. Pricing your home for different days and periods,
  3. Managing incoming reservations and communicating with each guest
  4. Giving the keys and welcoming each guest (some companies use lock-boxes, others, like Hostmaker, prefer to always have a real person to welcome every traveller),
  5. Exchanging with the guests during their stay,
  6. Housekeeping and cleaning service after the stay.

What questions should you ask when comparing property management companies?

Parisian balcony life from one of the apartments managed by Hostmaker in Paris

The difference between each Airbnb property management company resides in how they do each step, and what extra steps they may provide.

For instance, a property management service like Hostmaker would list your home in over 15 different channels, 2 of which exclusive to them. Their housekeepers all have prior experience as housekeepers in hotels, and are provided special training inspired by their partnership with Marriott International.

It’s always worth asking more detailed questions as you are considering which property management company may be right for you, and why some are cheaper than others. To take the list from before, it’s worth asking some of these questions:

  1. Listing your home in one or more channels: what channels? Are there any exclusive ones? What are the benefits of the ones the company offers?
  2. Pricing your home for different days and periods: how often is the price updated? Does the property management company update it according to local events? What about local hotel prices?
  3. Managing incoming reservations and communicating with each guest: how would they typically manage this? Is there any risk of a message being lost?
  4. Giving the keys and welcoming each guest: is this done with a lockbox, or thanks to a human interaction? How is the information about your property communicated to the guest? How often is your home checked by the property management company? Is check-in available 24/7?
  5. Exchanging with the guests during their stay: is this available round the clock? How does the property management company ensure that they always have the right information, without having to contact you each time?
  6. Housekeeping and cleaning service after the stay: how are the housekeepers trained? How specific can your instructions be with them? Can they take care of your plants (yes, all very important questions!)?

Any other questions I should consider? Bonus questions!

It’s also useful to ask yourself what additional services might be offered, for both your and your guests. Typically:

  • Is the listing prepared by a professional photographer and a professional copywriter, to ensure maximum exposure?
  • Is there a performance dashboard available where I can see my earnings at a glance?
  • Can I open and close my property’s availability through an app or a tool?
  • Can they help with interior design work, should I need to refurbish the property prior to letting it? What are the packages offered?
  • Do they offer maintenance and technical support, 24/7, in that most annoying of cases when the boiler fails or the water leaks?

What’s the standard Airbnb property management fee (or short let management fee)?

Calculating fees for a London property management company
Calculating fees for a property management company (the old-school calculator way)

In terms of fees, there are a variety of pricing plans around. For instance, Hostmaker offers a Fixed and a Flex plan, for property owners who want a stable income, and those who prefer to maximise their earnings. Other companies may have various options too.

The factors impacting a property management fee

As a rule of thumb, the management fee will depend on:

  • the level of service you would like to ensure (the more premium, the higher the fee, but the more complete the service)
  • the location and size of your property
  • the availability of your property (few weeks in a year, few months, or full time: the longer, the better as the service will have time to optimise the strategy to ensure the best returns)
  • the amenities of your property (balconies, spa-like bathrooms, sofa-beds can all be fetching higher prices, which may impact the fee)

The management fee is usually calculated on revenues driven to the property after the commission perceived by the listing platform (Airbnb, Booking.com, HomeAway…). Do ask the question if you aren’t sure!

Research suggests that 15% is the standard rate you can expect to pay for Airbnb property management services on average – which drops down to about 12-13% for basic services and can often go as high as 20% for premium services.

An example of property management fees: the Hostmaker Flex case

At Hostmaker, the most popular offer is Hostmaker Flex, which offers property owners an end-to-end, full-featured management service, starting at 12% + VAT. This means that the management fee will be 12% + VAT of the revenue you will have received from stays in a given month, minus any platform fees and call-outs.

The management fee can vary depending on the factors above, but you can ask for a projection of what your property would typically achieve, as a benchmark. Across London, clients using Hostmaker Flex achieve on average 30% more than long-term lettings.

Have any queries? Let us know about your property and our friendly team can help with any questions you might have.

Which pricing plan is best for me?

It really depends on your portfolio and your situation. For instance, if you’ve got the right property and a need for a more stable income, a fixed option can be an excellent solution. Of course, you may be leaving money on the table, but you are assured of a rental income, without the risk of a void period between tenants.

On the other side, a fee-based solution like Hostmaker Flex means that you only pay when results come in, so the risks are very limited anyway, and the upside can be important.

Finally, if you manage multiple properties, a more professional solution can mix both pricing plan according to your risk appetite and earnings objectives. For instance, if you own a block of flats, you may want to have a few on long lets, a few on mid lets and a few of short lets, to spread the benefits of all types of lets.

A quick comparison of the pricing options at Hostmaker
A quick comparison of the pricing options at Hostmaker

Ready to unlock the true financial potential of your property(s)? We’d love to hear from you! Tell us about your property here and we’ll be in contact with all the information you need.